Fact time: The human body is about 50 to 65 percent water. The brain is more than 70 percent water. Yep, you’re basically one big sloshy human water balloon.
So why is 75 percent of the American population chronically dehydrated?
The benefits of getting enough water are innumerable; they run the gamut from more luxurious hair to a more alert brain (which makes sense, considering the brain is mostly H2O). The average healthy male living in a temperate climate needs about 13 cups of water per day, and women need about nine.
Even if you follow the “8 x 8” rule of thumb (eight glasses of water by 8 p.m.), you’re better off than a huge majority of the population.
There are other factors involved, of course. Athletes who sweat a lot, people who live in drier climates, illness and pregnancy all up your required water quota. Some of the water you need to get in your system can come from fruits, vegetables and other beverages.
If you’re struggling to get enough water every day and are starting to feel sluggish, tired or even sick because of it, here are a few ideas for committing to your new habit.
Flavor your water
If plain water makes you gag, try adding a flavor — but avoid packaged vitamin waters, which often contain too much sugar.
Instead, add a slice of lemon or cucumber, seltzer or a splash of your favorite juice to your water.
Mark your progress
Go out and buy a few bottles with ounce or liter indicators on them. With a Sharpie, mark where you want to have drained your bottle to by certain times of the day. (For example, write “12” in the center of the bottle if you want to be halfway done with the bottle by noon.)
Stock up on as many as you need to meet your quota and fill them up the night before with the goal to finish them by the end of the day.
Set a reminder
If you’re really committed, set email, calendar or phone reminders every two hours that tell you to get up and chug a glass.
Remember that tea and other beverages count too, but limit yourself; too much of any can actually dehydrate you.
Make it a challenge
If you really need motivation, promise yourself a treat if you finish your required amount. Ten glasses downed? Go for the large pumpkin latte tomorrow.
Only six today? Put a dollar in a jar for something you’re saving. It’s a win-win, but it’ll feel like a punishment if you miss a day.
Remember: It takes about 21 days to make something a habit. Stick with it and soon you won’t even need to get creative to get the hydration your body needs.